Rain Boy by Dylan Glynn; illustrated by Dylan Glynn. Watercolor, pastels, cut paper, and colored pencils. Published by Chronicle Books.
Brief summary: Wherever he goes, Rain Boy, a cloud that brings “wet,” cannot get anyone to like him. His classmate, Sun Kidd, is popular because wherever she goes, she brings sunshine. She has a birthday party and invites Rain Boy who makes everything wet. “Rain, Rain, go away,” the classmates shout. Rain Boy sadly causes a storm. He stays inside for months causing everything to be dark and rainy.
Sun Kidd was so upset, that she too stayed away from school. After a bit, the classmates began to see how the rain is actually beneficial. The flowers and trees grow. They play in the puddles. Rain Boy decides to go outside, and after awhile, Sun Kidd joins him showing they could coexist.
Comments: I like how the watercolors used to represent rain and sun helped set the mood of the story. The children changed their minds about their classmates by having more information that helped them see the benefits of both.
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away by Meg Medina; illustrated by Sonia Sanchez. 2020. Digitally created. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: Daniela’s best friend, Evelyn Del Rey, is moving. The girls meet on moving day to spend one last time together while remembering the times they had together and talking about what Evelyn’s moving away will mean to their friendship. They hug goodbye and promise to keep in touch.
Comments: This book would be PERFECT to share in the classroom(or a parent-child talk) when one of the students is moving! It could help bring closure for all.
Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall; illustrated by Gaia Cornwall. 2020. Published by Candlewick Press.
Brief summary: Jabari decides he is going to make a flying machine all by himself without the help from his younger sister, Nika, or his dad. After failing to have it fly across the yard, he stops and tries to figure out what went wrong and how to fix the problem. After awhile, he decides to let his little sister assistant him. After one too many failures, he becomes frustrated and wants to give up. His father encourages him to keep trying. Nika squeezes his hand to let him know she supports him too. Will he succeed with his perseverance?
Comments: I loved the first Jabari Jumps and this one has the same “can do” attitude. This is a superb book to share with young readers right before they decide to make something or when they are failing.
A Quiet Girl by Peter Carnavas; illustrated by Peter Carnavas. 2020. Ink and watercolor. Published by Pajama Press.
Brief summary: Mary is a quiet girl while observing the world around herself. When it is time for Mary to share, no one can hear her voice. When she tries to speak louder and still nobody hears her, Mary becomes quiet again. No one missed her at the beginning, but then began to frantically look around the house and neighborhood yelling, “MARY!” very loudly. Was Mary there the entire time? How will they see her again?
Comments: This is a book I would share at the beginning of the school year, before vacation, or after a holiday break when the students are very exited and consumed with themselves. I think the story would help them to stop and notice quieter people and things around them they are overlooking.
Mindfulness often needs to be taught.
Violet Shrink by Christine Baldacchino, illustrated by Carmen Mok. 2020. Gouache, color pencil, and graphite pencil. Published by Groundwood Books.
Brief summary: Violet prefers to spend time by herself. Her father tries to help his daughter come out of her shell and socialize by having them go to various parties. He always changes the name of the gathering, so Violet is not sure they are parties. They go to a reception, a function, a potluck, a bash, and many more. Her father helps Violet recognize the positive things of going to a party and does not push her to join the fun. He lets her experience them the way she can.
Comments: I like that the father does not force Violet to be someone she is not but at the time points out all of the fun things there are at parties. I commend the author to write about an anxiety and demonstrate how the father allowed his daughter to talk to him about it without judgement.
I’d like to see more mental health picture books like this that are not gimmicky or with an obvious message. I think others with introversion will be able to relate to Violet.